Metallica’s original bassist says Dave Mustaine was “so far ahead of us as musicians” on early recordings

Ron McGovney commends the Megadeth leader’s playing on Metallica’s first demo, No Life ’til Leather.

Metallica’s original bassist Ron McGovney has hailed Dave Mustaine’s playing on the band’s first demo, No Life ’til Leather,  suggesting that the now-Megadeth man was leagues ahead of the rest of the band musically at the time.

In a tweet posted May 29, McGovney called No Life ’til Leather “the best metal demo ever”, owing in large part to Mustaine’s guitar parts on the recording.

“Dave Mustaine just kills it on this tape,” the bassist said. “He leaves the rest of us in the dust. I am just listening to it for the first time in 10 years. Wow!”

And when a Metallica fan chimed in, adding: “You’re wrong, Ron. You just wanna talk bad about James [Hetfield] and Lars [Ulrich] and you don’t know how to do it,” McGovney further explained his stance.

“I am not talking bad about James and Lars or even me for that matter,” he replied. “Dave was just so far ahead of us as musicians at that point. I have a huge amount of respect for James, Lars and Dave for what they have accomplished in the music industry.”

Ron McGovney only enjoyed a brief stint with Metallica, which lasted a little over a year between October 1981 and December 1982. Aside from No Life ’til Leather, McGovney also appeared on a recording of Hit the Lights – a different version than that which opened Metallica’s full-length debut, Kill ‘Em All – which appeared on a repressing of the Metal Massacre compilation album by Metal Blade Records.

Since playing with LA thrash metallers Phantasm between 1986 and 1988, McGovney has kept a low profile in the music world, but did make an appearance at Metallica’s 30th anniversary show at The Fillmore in San Francisco, California.

Dave Mustaine was dismissed from Metallica in 1983 following the buildup of tumultuous relationships with other band members.

Earlier this month, David Ellefson spoke on his former Megadeth bandmate Mustaine’s alleged bitterness at his Metallica dismissal all these years later.

“I’ve watched how [Mustaine’s] treated his dismissal from Metallica, still bitching about it 40 years later, and I think it looks fucking pathetic,” Ellefson said. “And it’s, like, ‘You know what? Fix your shit and move on.’ And that’s how I’ve chosen to deal with it: fix your shit and move on.”


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